Last year: #1
The type of seniority Jay has in the game is evidenced best when he appears on others’ songs, and 2010 found him doing a lot of that. There was his scene-stealing verse on Rick Ross’ “Free Mason,” on which he addressed the conspiracy theorists that took him to task for his “On to the Next One” video. Then there were a handful of Kanye West records, like “Monster,” “So Appalled” and the “Power” remix. And there was the Drake cut “Light Up.” He was even called on to make a song for charity in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, linking with Rihanna and U2’s Bono and The Edge for “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour).”
And then there’s the things Jay does outside of hip-hop (he’s not a businessman; he’s a business, man). Despite not being able to woo LeBron James to New Jersey, he’s still a minority owner in the Nets. Along with Will Smith and his wife Jada, Jay produced the Tony-winning Broadway play “Fela.” Plus, he’s the head of Roc Nation, which manages acts as wide-ranging as Mark Ronson, the Ting Tings and recent signee Willow Smith. He also still has a pair of 40/40 sports clubs in New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey. All these ventures allowed Jay to top Forbes’ Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, with $63 million earned in 2010 alone.